--- ACCORDION --->

One thing that is stopping you from being happy!!

One thing that is stopping you from being happy!!

What’s WRONG?!  EVERYTHING!

I know we have all felt this way! I understand some days are just like that.

But I can guarantee that thinking is keeping you miserable!

If you stop and do this one thing, you will change your entire outlook. If you stop and do this one thing enough times you will affect you whole life!!

6 Things I Learned From a Bird

I have always enjoyed birds! I love to listen to the cardinals sing,  I greet the day with the robins at daybreak and make a wish when I see a yellow finch. I dream as the seagulls sail through the skies, appreciate the sky art as the geese form up to make flying more streamline and I pause to watch the majestic eagle fishing in a bold dive! It occurred to me that in watching and enjoying these winged creatures I can learn so many lessons. 

Let's start with the obvious.

1.  Follow the sun. Migratory birds fly to places where the water doesn't freeze and their food isn't buried beneath snow! They return 'home' when Mother Nature is in a kinder, gentler mood. This is brilliant! If I have it my way I too will be a 'snow bird' and fly south for a  few months of the year. 

2. Dive In! Nothing more awe inspiring then seeing a Bald Eagle drop from the sky to snatch a fish from the water. When a bird is soaring through the sky and sees food it will often nose dive and scoop up it's prey. Pelicans are fun to watch make a big splash as they fish.  If not a nose dive they swoop low and grab what they are after. Translated into human behavior, being direct and assertive can help us move forward in life and get what we desire. You might miss when you dive, but if you don't try you'll go hungry. 

3. Just sit around and sing! Sing to make yourself known. Sing to make sure others hear what you have to say. Singing is their form of communication. We humans could benefit from that lesson! Singing can make you feel better almost instantly, singing along to our favorite song is an instant mood booster.  Think about what would happen if you sang your frustrations or statements to someone. HA! HA! (This would be a fun social experiment!) I am going to guess people would listen more closely than if we were speaking in angry tones. Then perhaps change would occur because we are heard and respected. The birds sing to mark their territory, the other birds know this and steer clear.

4. Squawking will cause you to miss out on good stuff. I love feeding the seagulls at the beach. I only have to throw one small crumb out to one single gull and we will be quickly joined by many beautiful white and gray birds ready to enjoy the handouts. If you watch closely there will always be one 'bossy' bird squawking so loudly to chase the others off, that he misses the handout. While he is making all his noise the others are moving in around him and picking up the goodies!  This always makes me laugh, because it easily translates into human behavior. The ones that gripe and complain are usually the same people who cannot enjoy life.

5. Working together makes the job easier. The geese are forming a perfect V as they fly over (as they fly to warmer places) honking at each other in encouragement(singing to communicate) and they make the trip easier on everyone. I witnessed the craziest thing while walking the other day. I heard a weird noise above and looked up to see the geese all flying in a circular mess. I have never seen them move in any other way then to fall into formation and go forward. That day they could not seem to establish who was leading and which direction to go.... The noise was not the usual honks of encouragement. It was a busy buzz of honks and tones as they circled around one another in effort to organize. After a few minutes they did form the familiar V and then headed in a southerly direction. Demonstrating, once again, that squawking just makes it harder to get what you want. 

6. Knowing where you fit in makes life easier. If you take the time to watch a bunch of birds on a wire you will see them sitting very near each other. When a new bird wants to land on the line and it tries to 'fit in' the birds on either or both sides will peck at it...it pecks back....sometimes they make room, sometimes it flies off to a different spot on the line and tries again. The lesson here is seeing, as you look for the just right place to land, you may not 'fit' on the line when you first try. You might get 'pecked' at so hard you must move on to a more comfortable fit.  We humans don't always pay attention the way these birds seemed to, probably because the human 'pecking' is much more subtle. Just know, it's okay to move on when it's time. 

Nature is a wonderful teacher. The design is amazing, humans often forget that having a brain to think doesn't always make us smarter. If you are stuck on what to do,try asking "What would nature do?"  Then go outside and observe, you most likely will get a very practical answer.

Written by Cindy White  

Cindy@positiveimpact50.com

Cindy is an eternal optimist, that spends a great deal of her time thinking while communing with nature! :)

Go Make A Positive Impact :)   

 

Awareness

Awareness, mindfulness, these are both trendy ways of saying PAY ATTENTION!

 I can proudly say that I have spent most of the last 9 years being mindful. I spent many years before that  living day to day, in an unhappy state of mind just doing life, and then when some huge life changes, divorce, moving, being a single mother were my choices it was then that I shifted that mindset. I started paying attention. Actually I really began paying attention before my divorce, I just chose to sugar coat some of the facts because they were too ugly to look in the eye. It was after I became so bitchy and miserable trying to 'accept' something that did not align with my spirit, that I became aware that it was time to make that change! 

Eckhart Tolle said "Awareness is an excellent agent for change."  This is a fact! I have changed so many things about myself,as well as my many choices life has to offer as a result of simply paying attention. I realized I was so bogged down in trying to live my 'shoulds' (more on that another time) that I was not aware of how miserable I was and subjecting my family to all that misery too.

So I began to pay attention to how I was behaving and why. Then I began to grow into me. This is an ongoing process. This year I had another life changing choice, I chose to walk away from a career that I had been in for nearly 24 years. Why, because again I was so miserable trying to accept the circumstances that I was not being my best self.  I know that the mission I showed up for was not what I was doing everyday. I was unhappy and it showed up in my work. So I decided to change. I have had some blessed circumstances in which to make change. I am finding my 'purpose' right?  Becoming AWARE.....

I also recently have come to understand that my quest for 'self awareness' has teetered into self absorption. I am seeking that contentment in life so much I was missing what makes me content in the moment. The very things I value and say "That would make me happy!" My family, my friends, sunrises, sunset and beaches. I had them all in one place last week and I spent the time trying to 'figure out' my mood. I struggle with anxiety and depression. I have fully decided that this is because my thoughts about what is wrong (self awareness?) keep me under the cloud of worry and in a broad 'funk'. I then find myself telling those that I know care about me, about my 'funk' and the fact that I can't shake it.  My family and friends smile and nod. I often get the glassy eyed look from my children. My AWARENESS of this look has bumped me into realizing that they care, but are real tired of hearing the same drone over and over.  Even if it is disguised as a different struggle be it on a project, or relationship or whatever, it is negative. 

So I believe that true self awareness comes from looking outside yourself and paying attention to who and what is around you. Seeking the very things that are right in front of you. If you know what makes you happy, mad, sad, frustrated, excited, and any number of the wonderful feelings we humans get to experience. That self awareness is invaluable. However, doing nothing to then help yourself pay attention to the good stuff right in front of you.....well that is not awareness at all.  It is the complete opposite. Unaware of what is right in front of you equals unhappiness!! 

I am now on an absolute quest to balance this self awareness with  awareness of others. To pay attention to the people around me and remembering that my 'awareness' of my needs, and the struggle to achieve them, is not always what they want to hear about.  I will continue to improve my future and take steps towards living my best life. But I really intend to pay attention to the here and now and express my gratitude for ALL the delight that is mine !!!  Like the 'selfie' used for this article photo I am certainly in my picture....however, I plan to focus on what is around me, not be the focus of my attention. 

Fear Not

Do you know the seasonal story about the Angels greeting the shepards with 'Fear not!' ? I was thinking about what fear drives us to do, or keeps us from doing. The "what ifs" of life. The 'yeah but'..... I wonder how different my life would be if I had not been afraid of going out of my comfort zone so many times in my life. 

I have a daughter who decided she wanted to travel internationally. I have heard so many people say, "She is brave! I would not have done that at her age." or "You are a brave mom, I couldn't let my child do that."  This is something I don't believe I ever had a choice in 'letting her'.  Yes, I admit, I have been nervous and at one point down right 'spazzed out' because I had not had contact for an extended amount of time.(LOL sorry, not sorry Brook)  But that brings me to my point of writing today. I could let the fear control my thoughts and worry about what might happen to her, or I can simply trust that I have raised a competent and adventurous young woman! I know she is having an amazing life changing experience! I know there is very little I can do to control her travels and the people and places that are part of her experience. So there in the lack of control, is where the fear I could conjure up comes from.

      Control, when we feel we are in control of our lives and the happenings, we generally do not experience fear. It is when the unknown comes into play. The 'what ifs' become big ugly monsters. They are there to destroy the happiness that is you. It will keep us from trying new things, talking to new people, eating new foods, and simply trusting that our efforts on a day to day basis are 'enough'. 

What to do about it? 

I say really look at your fear. Stare it in the eye! What are you afraid of? Is is rational? Could it really even be ? THEN ask "What good is my fear/worry doing?" Is it helping the person or situation you are fearing? Is it keeping me from being present right now?  I was walking down the beach in the late afternoon the sun was casting beautiful colors in the sky and the water was still and calm.....I was mentally obsessing about a fear I was having and I noticed that I was missing enjoying the beautiful afternoon!!! I quickly shook some sense into  myself and shut down the fear machine in my head by paying attention to the colors, the water and the birds. I said 'Thank You!" out loud as I took in my little slice of paradise. I felt better as the shift in my mental focus happened so did the 'pit' in my stomach go away. 

We are able to control only ourselves and the way we choose to see the world. I strongly suggest that you make the choice to be present, as it is the only guarantee and stop fearing the future. Live to your best each day, apply yourself to whatever your day brings and be grateful for the goodness that is. You will find that keeping the fear from controlling you will help you feel more in control and so on and so on........

 

It's a wonderful life if you look at it right.....

      It's that time of year when all the holiday specials are playing. I decided to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" last night. This is not one I watch every year, and hadn't seen it in years from beginning to end. I watched with my fresh adult eyes. I noticed so many of the messages that I am trying to share here on my Positive Impact page, gratitude, perspective, love and faith. 

      I really enjoyed the movie very differently this time! As I watched I thought such things as "Wow, Mary is very tolerant of George's negativity"  "Why does she want to marry that negative grouchy man?"  "Is George really doing the right thing if he resents his life?" "Wow, people have been blaming teachers for random problems for years!"  "I would love to see what the world would be like if I had never been born." and " He is happy and nothing is different but his perception." "Faith, he leans on prayer when times are tough.....typical human behavior!"  Let me expand on these thoughts a bit. 

     As you all know George is completely elated to be home and have his family and home at the end of the movie. The LESSON comes from him hitting rock bottom after his uncle is careless with money.  George is the kinda guy who always looks out for everyone's best interest. He puts his desires on hold and does the right thing. He becomes bitter and resentful. He is short tempered with his fabulous, hardworking wife. He treats those closest to him the worst. He snaps at his daughter for playing piano, he yells at his kid for wanting help with school work.He yells at the teacher because his daughter is sick. He is only enlightened after being given some perspective on his VALUE in his community. 

     He proves to me that old saying that "Happiness is not having what you want, it is wanting what you have." I posted that photo on my f.b. page before I watched the movie. I think it is a strong reminder that simply shifting your  perspective to what is RIGHT. Not looking at all the negative stuff happening all the time. The story sends a strong message, that when you stay short sighted and look at the problems that life becomes overwhelming. Everyone's life looks so much better than yours. The message of 'you are important just the way you are.' is one we all can tune into ! If we spend a minute each day thinking of our positive impact on others we sure do feel much better! If we learn that doing the right thing with a happy heart will bring back to us the same love and reward we give others, our lives become meaningful and we focus on our 'purpose'.  Not everyone needs to be rich, famous and beautiful to impact the world. As a matter of fact we need more people willing to simply be KIND to the next guy, just because! 

 

 

trust

     In the last year the universe has given me SOOOO many opportunities to learn to trust. Trust others, trust myself ....trust 'The Plan".  In a world full of selfish and self motivated people it is more and more difficult to trust others. In a life time of having my choices and thoughts 'over-ridden' by someone else's 'better idea' it was difficult to trust myself. I had really become jaded and sad. It almost felt like everyone else in the world was also lacking the trust and sense of community that comes with trusting others. 

     Today, I got to see that not EVERYONE lacks trust.  I experienced a woman who still trusts! I was waiting on my oil change at the car dealership. I was chatting with this nice woman, also waiting. She left the waiting room to speak to the service manager and left behind her phone and her PURSE! I was shocked! I am happy that I felt trustworthy to her! I am sadden that it will only take one moral-less person to ruin her trust in others!! I would love to say "Wow, I wish more people were like her."  However, I feel like there are too many shitty, selfish, immoral humans that would rather steal then do the right thing. (There is the jaded thing I mentioned)  So, here is my modified wish....."I wish that we all could feel more like her, because we TRUST that there are more of us that will do the right thing then those who would steal."  

     So this leads me to think of how I have begun to learn my lesson of TRUST over the past year. I have learned WHO to trust.  I had to start with getting back to my spiritual baseline. I had to go back to the knowledge that I was created for a purpose! My impact on this big old world is predetermined in the PLAN. Fortunately, I get free will and  choices in that framework, but I am beginning to see that each of my experiences has lead me to this very place! I am beginning to TRUST that my choices and their consequences were all for my good. It is almost overwhelming when I spend time looking at the good that has come from my 'bad'!!! It is that "AH-HA! moment" that  everyone talks about.  Still, trust is hard! 

So what do I do? Sit back and let God drive!!! "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"        

     Nope, this is the part about learning to TRUST myself. Wow! this is even harder!!! Using the free will that we all have, wisely.....for years I made choices that seemed to lead to screw ups, hurts, disappointment, lost resources, and in general doubt in myself!  I always tried to 'do the right thing' but what I have learned is that doing what is right for someone else is not the 'right thing' when it goes against my belief system. I have had to reconnect with that belief system. (see above paragraph) and listen to that still, SMALL, voice that is directed by my belief system. This is tough in a noisy, busy, stressful, and always 'on' world.  I recommend EVERYONE sitting still and 'listening' to your inner voice. It is a real skill, and I believe a life changing one.  I learned to do this with guided meditation. I have seen, actually feel, the benefits daily. I am able to focus on daily life. I appreciate life's little moments. I am calmer in stressful situations, I am able to act in a way that is going to serve me and my greater purpose. I trust that I am making the right choices. 

     I am still leaning into this lesson of trust. Mostly what I have learned about trust is still a bit shaky. I have to trust other humans cautiously, because they are humans. I have to trust God, the universe, the light....with faith.  I understand I am part of the collective energy, and I want my part to be beautiful. I want to make a positive  impact on others and be the reason others feel they can trust strangers. I want to do 'the right thing' and never waiver from this strength, because I TRUST that my plan is really really amazing!!  

Choices

After spending the week with family and friends I really am aware of the value of GRATITUDE I have for being free to make choices! 

 I choose who I spend time with. I choose how I spend my time. I got  to choose what I made for Thanksgiving dinner( it was shrimp not traditional turkey, and I am choosing to make that MY new traditional Thanksgiving dish.) I choose how I dress.  I choose how I spend my money. EVERY moment of every day I have a choice or choices. My all time favorite choice is my choice of an attitude of gratitude.

The choice of how I react to life, I choose to see life as positive as I can. This does not mean that I think fairy dust and wishes will make life alright. It means that I choose to ACT in a positive manner. 

ACT- "the process of doing; anything done, being done or to be done, performance"  this is the definition of acting. I also am learning to not be 'reactive' so much; doing something AFTER something else has happened. This leaves me feeling as if I do not have control over a situation. I try to be 'proactive'  in my life choices and set my life on a path that makes things more positive and therefore I am able to react with gratitude. Because I express my gratitude I see more good things come my way!  Are you seeing the happy cycle that comes into play here? I believe this is a universal law!!!  The Universe knows your energy, if we think about what we DON'T want we tend to attract exactly that. To quote my daughter The Universe is the BEST listener." She understands that when we stay focused on what is right,good and happy in our lives, we think about what we DO want, therefore we manifest the positive. 

I am not talking about being complacent and accepting what is. Actually quite the opposite, I am talking about the ability that we ALL possess, looking at life's events as lessons and choosing what to 'do'; how to act. If you have good stuff going on in your life, pay attention to what you are doing to generate that goodness. Say 'THANK YOU" (to other humans and your spiritual base). When you have negative things going on in your world then look for the lesson. I know that life is an amazing teacher, we can grow and become stronger and better from the negative. If we look for what good comes of the bad, we start to see the reason for it. When you see the reason,you can accept it and move on. It is true that you must have darkness to appreciate the light. 

My point here today is to to help you, begin to appreciate the light. When you have negative things or people around, PAUSE before you act, you have a choice of how you REACT to that negativity. In the pause, think of what your choice will do for YOUR quality of life and then choose accordingly.  Most importantly.in everything, even the ugly parts of life, remain grateful!! 

Why do we only mark one day?

Happy Thanksgiving !  I intentionally practice daily gratitude. Today, I am grateful for a National Holiday that makes others be mindful of what it is they can be thankful for. When asked to name something you are thankful for it is usually easy. When you are grateful each day for what is good then you begin to focus on the good. 

The pilgrims celebrated in spite of the fact that half of them from the ship died the previous winter. They FOUND what was right, they had survived the year because their new friends helped them to help themselves!  They had a HUGE 3 day party around it!!  If you think about it, nothing in their lives would have been easy. They spent a year watching illness and starvation take their loved ones. They had to learn to build homes, hunt, plant, harvest and then cook their food.  Instead of weeping they made a choice to celebrate! From that gratitude celebration they continue to thrive and grow their families and towns into our United States of America.  

The thinking of those that decided on this first party of gratitude was one that I have come to embrace!! Expressing gratitude seems to bring more good stuff my way, think about it.....

When you give someone something (gift, sharing or simply helping out) are you more likely to continue to give if they express genuine gratitude? When someone shows you how glad they are for your time, support or gifts, you are probably going to continue to give them what they need and want. Our universal energy works the same way! When we show gratitude for all that is good in our days, we are more likely to have more goodness show up! 

So, happy Thanks-giving DAY. Begin to be mindful that giving thanks in each day leads to a much happier outlook on life!